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Welcome to the NBG Blog.


Here you can find an up to date report of all of our Bat Group goings on. Anyone is welcome to contribute, so if you are interested in writing something, do get in contact!

By Nicola Faulks, Feb 12 2019 02:33PM

Our latest hibernation survey took place on 8th February 2019, the weather was extreme at times, so a big thank you to those who braved the elements. I have never seen as much water tipped out of a pair wellies! But on the plus side we did have excellent cake…

Brown Long Eared Bat
Brown Long Eared Bat

We found nine bats and that’s without being able to get to one of our best sites (we did try) so a really good count.

In the highest adit, the Daubenton's bat that has been moving between 81m and 91m in was still at 81m (I’m sure this is the same bat…) and the two brown long-eared bats that were hanging openly had gone, one brown long-eared was found in a crevice, eventually, the second was hiding.

One bat, a Natterer’s bat, that had been in the same adit and crevice since 04/12/2018 had gone, however two Natterer’s bats were found in the entrance to the neighbouring adit. Has this bat gone next door, or is that too obvious?

A Natterer’s bat was found in one of our (usually) well used low level adits, the first for this year, unusual as this tends to be a good bat site. Two Daubenton’s bats were found in another lower altitude site. Last month a Daubenton's bat was found at 43m, only the second bat ever found in this adit, that bat was still there and a Daubenton’s bat was also found at 14m. We have surveyed this adit 16 times now and only found a bat on 4 occasions.

The new site, found in January, still had a bat in it! The bat found in January had gone but a brown long-eared bat was found further in, potentially the same bat. This site has been checked in Jan 2014, 2016 and 2017 and Feb 2017 without any bats until this year.

Moth count was 166 heralds and 7 tissues. Less than January but we counted different sites and it is possible the bats have been snacking….

By Nicola Faulks, Jan 23 2019 08:26PM

The first set of NBMP hibernation surveys have now been completed. We had enough people for two teams for the January surveys, including new surveyors, a new pair of waders and a new pair of wellies!

In the highest adit surveyed, we found two brown long-eared bats (both had moved from 23/12/2018) and one Daubenton's bat, we have seen three bats on all counts this year. On 04/12/2018 a Daubenton's bat was found 81m into the adit, on 23/12/2018 one was at 91m (into the adit) and by 12/01/2019 one was back at 81m, in the same spot. I would love to know if this really is the same bat.

Daubenton's bat in the adit
Daubenton's bat in the adit

Our other well used adit held fewer bats. In January we refound one Natterer's bat which had not moved since 23/12/2018 and a Daubenton's bat in a new crevice. We recorded one Natterer's bat and three Daubenton's bats on 23/12/2018, so we lost two bats, either they were hiding or they had moved.

No bats were seen in three of the usual adits, despite searching one much further than ever before, as the water level is now below wader depth! A bat was found in one of the lower altitude adits, a Daubenton's bat at 43m in, only the second bat ever found in this adit, the other was a Natterer's bat seen in January and February 2015! We have surveyed this adit 15 times now and found a bat on just three occasions.

In the other valley system, on 12/01/2018 the Daubenton's bat was not where we left it in December and was not refound. Team 2 went into a culvert which doesn't get checked much as it never seems to have bats in it; however a brown long-eared was recorded this time! We have surveyed this site in January 2014, 2016 and 2017 and February 2017 and not seen a bat there before.

Brown long eared bat
Brown long eared bat

We also saw a lot of moths, with a total count of 255 heralds and 18 tissues in January (two types of moth!). The highest herald counts in individual adits were 74, 51, 35 and 22 with heralds recorded in all 10 sites surveyed; the tissues were found across 7 adits with a high of 8 in one site.

Thanks to all three teams for your help, what amazing results!

By Nicola Faulks, Sep 12 2018 06:33PM

The last Bat Care Bulletin – Number 72 (September 2018) landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago; on reading it, I realised there was a very familiar story, a call out on our turf, concerning a brown long eared bat and Sam Talbot. So reproduced below, for all to read, is the story as written by Sam!

Kielder Water & Forest Park is a popular tourist spot to get away from it all. It's a very rural and remote area that has excellent bat habitat, with square miles of woodland and wetland. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say the star-studded skies above Kielder are the darkest in England, so they're perfect for brown long-eared. The quantities and ferocity of midges in that area of the world are legendary. The only limiting factor to exponential population growth of bat species there is roost space (as the area is mostly plantation wood and there are very few structures). Barry the bat, as named by the workers who found her, thought she had found a perfect spot in a rusty Portakabin. Which it was ... right until it was relocated to the banks of the Tyne at Newcastle Business Park, fifty miles away!

The irony is most people from Newcastle have at some point taken a holiday to Kielder and stayed in temporary accommodation such as a lodge or Portakabin. Barry (or should it be Barri?) just did it the other way round! She is entirely fine and is going back home tonight, having spent 2 days resting up and eating waxworms in a box in my dining room.

By Nicola Faulks, Aug 29 2018 07:06PM

On Sunday 5th August we trapped and fitted a tracking tag to a juvenile male Nathusius pipistrelle and were hopeful that we would be able to locate a roost but despite dedicating over 80 hours, between an enthusiastic team of volunteers; covering the whole of the Druridge Bay area from Shilbottle right down to Newbiggin, and being fooled by 8 electric fences, 2 pumping stations and numerous house alarms we were disappointed not to locate the day roost. The bat was located foraging over Cresswell Pond for the first two nights but then not heard again. It is possible that the tag failed prematurely or that the bat just left the area.

It has been an unpredictable year with the prolonged cold weather into late Spring and because of this we were unable to do much trapping before stopping for the maternity season break. We have monitored both of the sites where previously Nathusius pipistrelle colonies have formed during the summer but neither of them have had Nathusius using them this year; temperature data and remote detector data from the coast roost will be analysed and compared with last year's data to see if any conclusions can be drawn as to why this might have been.

The more encouraging news is that the coast "mating roost" is active and a male was recorded last night trying to attract females to his roost.

We are planning to carry out some more trapping sessions during the next few weeks concentrating primarily on migration. Proposed dates are:

Mon 3rd Sept

Fri 21st Sept

Sun 23rd Sept

Please let me (Hazel) know if you would like to help out on any of the above occasions. You can use the contact form on this website, or email me directly if you have my email address. Sites, depending on weather and access, will include Ladyburn Lake, River Wansbeck, Bolam Lake, Gosforth Park NR and QEII Country Park.

By Nicola Faulks, Aug 15 2018 08:33PM

Sometimes you get lucky and get a roost visit close to home where you can build up a relationship over the years.

Somewhere near Rothbury, in an old house, a very nice roost owner with an excellent sense of humour reported bats in the kitchen regularly throughout the summer. I first went out under the roost visit scheme at the end of August 2016. The roost was obvious – droppings covered the walls of a small extension, and were noticeable inside around the loft hatch.

A long dark urine stain went down one kitchen wall.

We agreed to keep an eye on the situation and try to clean out the worst of the build up of droppings over the winter.

Nearly a year went by and then last Summer the bats were back and regularly joining the family for supper, including one night sitting on the roost owner’s husband’s shoulder whilst he ate.

With some cunning wall-top yoga I managed to block up most of the holes on the inside of the dining room, including above the Aga where some very mummified bats were found.

The front of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated
The front of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated

The season came and went, with nobody being overly keen to disturb whatever mound of poo was behind the loft hatch above the kitchen.

In April this year we took the plunge, and with Graeme’s appreciated help we crawled into a space measuring at most 1.5m high by 2m wide by 4m long to see what was happening in our roost.

The back of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated
The back of the kitchen with roost entrances indicated

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